MANILA — A Commission on Elections (Comelec) official on Monday promised to expedite the application process for exemptions from the poll gun ban.
"Napansin po natin, lalong-lalo na ng kagalang-galang na Chairman [Saidamen Pangarungan], 'yan pong medyo nagiging napakagabagl ng pag-approve o pag-deny ng application," said Comelec commissioner George Garcia.
"Napaka-credible po ng threat lalong-lalo na sa ating mga kababayang negosyante at syempre bakit ba natin pahihirapan kumuha ng exemption?" he said in a public briefing.
(We, especially our Chairman, noticed the slightly slow approval or denial of applications. The threat is very credible, especially against our businessman, so of course, why will we make it difficult for them to get an exemption?)
A poll body resolution prohibits bearing, carrying, and transporting firearms and other deadly weapons from Jan. 9 until June 8, 2022, which covers the election period for the May polls, "unless authorized by the [Comelec], through the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns."
"Kami po magbibigay kami ng permit, pabibilisin namin 'yan pero 'yung mismong pag-monitor na ginagawa sa mga violation, dapat po 'yung mga head of agencies na lalo pa at co-equal branch ng government natin," Garcia said.
(We will issue permits, we will fast-track that, but the monitoring of violations should be up to heads of agencies, especially since they are our co-equal branches of government.)
Comelec will decentralize gun ban exemption applications, he added.
"Ika-cut natin ang lahat ng administrative case na nakakabagal sa proseso... Plano po natin na i-decentralize ang lahat sa amin pong regional offices... Pag naipasa po namin ang resolusyon sa darating na Miyerkoles, diyan na mag-aaply sa ating mga regional offices," said Garcia.
(We will cut all administrative cases which slow the processing. We plan to decentralize to all our regional offices. Once we pass the resolution this Wednesday, applications will be coursed through our regional offices.)
Gun ban violators face penalties of imprisonment from 1 to 6 years, permanent disqualification from public office and loss of right to vote, and deportation for foreigners, but only after prison term is served.